Biz Buzz: Reclamation saga
After bagging a 300-hectare reclamation project from Parañaque City—and in the absence of any “compliant” challenger to its unsolicited proposal—SM Prime Holdings has signed a joint-venture agreement with the city that, in turn, has endorsed the project to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) for approval.
PRA will then scrutinize the technical compliance of the local government unit and its partner, after which the reclamation proposal will ultimately be reviewed by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) for the final imprimatur.
Of the 300 hectares to be reclaimed (mirroring a similar project that the neighboring city of Pasay has awarded to SM), 30 percent is mandated to be set aside as a common or public area while the remaining 70 percent will be split between the developer (49 percent) and PRA (21 percent).
The effective net cost of the project for SM is estimated at P36,000 a square meter, taking into account the common areas and the parcel mandated to be carved out for the government’s use through the PRA.
But what about the Wenceslao group’s claim of “prior right” over the reclamation project?
By the city’s sheer act of having awarded the project to SM, it appears that the Wenceslao group will have to seek other avenues of recourse—like go to court—if it wants to assert this prior right.
The proponents don’t seem too worried, however, noting that the Wenceslaos’ claim was based on the old law where PRA itself is the developer of the reclamation project.
Based on the new law invoked by proponents, the cities themselves are the project developers and they have the leeway to bring on board private sector partners.
Although a proponent city won’t get any land allotment (it’s the PRA which will), the local government unit is seen to benefit from increased taxes, employment and new businesses to be created with the new property to be added to their jurisdiction.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the Wenceslaos will take the next step and bring the reclamation issue to the courts.–Doris C. Dumlao
When the local unit of Sun Life of Canada launched a new variable unit-linked (VUL) called “dynamic fund,” it was meant to be a small and nimble fund. But with cash-awash investors seeking new investment outlets (including those who had locked up gains from the stock market), this open-ended dynamic fund generated P4.5 billion in subscription only eight days after bringing it to the market, surprising the Sun Life team. The target was to generate only P2.5 billion.
Dynamic Fund is an exclusive fund option for policyholders of Sun MaxiLink One, an investment-linked life insurance product. The fund pitches “optimum returns” consisting of current income and capital growth through investment in a mix of high quality fixed-income and equity instruments from domestic and foreign issuers. It has the flexibility to invest in non-Philippine investment grade issues.
In terms of overall business, after an industry-wide slump seen in the first semester, Sun Life Financial Philippines (SLFP) posted a strong third-quarter performance, with premium collections growing 25 percent year-on-year. Despite coming from a high base for SLFP in the second half of 2014, SLFP president Riza Mantaring is thus keeping her fingers crossed that full-year performance would top last year’s.–Doris C. Dumlao
More flights to Balesin
Since Balesin is expecting a deluge of members and guests to be flying to the island during the holiday season, its management has announced an increase in flight frequencies to accommodate the additional merrymakers.
The Alphaland management recently told its members that an additional 18 flights would be made available from Manila to the island (just a 30-minute hop away) via no less than the relatively large Bombardier Q300 turboprops of PAL Express.
These chartered flights will complement the fleet of ATR-42 turboprops that Alphaland is also chartering for its guests.
The Q300 can seat 56 passengers in one go while the ATR-42 can accommodate 46 passengers.
The imprimatur for the Manila-Balesin-Manila PAL Express flights was given by Philippine Airlines president Jaime Bautista and Roberto Ongpin said in his e-mail to members that he would “do his best to twist [Bautista’s] arm” to make this a regular route for PAL Express all year round.
He probably won’t have to twist too hard. After all, Bautista is an alumnus of the renowned SGV & Co. auditing firm… which Ongpin once headed before he joined the government.–Daxim L. Lucas
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